The purpose of this paper is to examine the past 50 years of driver research from a historical context linked to the political and economic developments of the US motor carrier industry.
A comprehensive literature review was conducted and studies were targeted that exemplified eras of historic change pertaining to trucking published within the top-tier logistics journals.
Distinctive categorizations of driver research emerged: organizing era from 1930 to 1949, era of the collective mind from 1950 to 1979, era of the individual from 1980 to 2009 and the era of the driver as extension of the firm from 2010 to present. Research streams are highly influenced by current industry developments, economic conditions and the political landscape.
The chronological framework of research established specific time-based eras. An alternative framework or other emerging eras may be conceived as scholars consider factors in addition to those explored within this research.
Managers within developing countries may leverage the research within a specific era to help resolve driver problems that have already been researched in the USA. Scholars are encouraged to further study truck drivers as critical extensions of the firm in light of the advances in autonomous vehicles, drones and other technology impacting the motor carrier industry.
For nearly a half century, the turnover of truck drivers has been a major issue. This research provides driver managers with the knowledge to better understand and to more adequately provide for the needs and welfare of truck drivers.
This research is the first to fully connect the research and developments pertaining to the motor carrier industry, the occupation of truck driving and the historical developments of US policy and the economy.
LeMay, S. and Keller, S.B. (2019), "Fifty years inside the minds of truck drivers", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 626-643. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-03-2018-0123
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